Friday, October 28, 2011

Chicken Wings Aren't Just Bar Food Anymore

Most weeks, due to a fairly busy schedule, I cook my dinners with the idea that there will be leftovers for at least 1 or 2 nights.  I found myself today with a need to cook dinner that yielded no leftovers since we usually do not eat at home for dinner on Friday and Saturday nights and by Sunday I have no interest in eating food I cooked Thursday. It was this premise in mind that I decided to try thisrecipe from Ferran Adria's new cookbook The Family Meal

If' you're a crazy food stalker like me, you'll recognize the name of Ferran Adria as the owner and chef  of the former el Bulli in Spain.  His new cookbook contains recipes not from his restaurant but from those foods that was often cooked for his staff behind closed doors. With this in mind, I decided to tackle this rustic recipe that not only looked delicious on paper but is also budget minded, utilizing the lowly chicken wing and elevating it beyond that of bar food. 

As I proceeded cooking this dish, there were a few thing that I found appealling

1) The transformation from this... this.

And with the addition of a few spices and some cremini mushrooms, I can go from this... this


Overall, the dish takes about 40 minutes to cook, of which 30 minutes is spent cooking the wings on medium heat to get a high-index crispiness that gives both texture and fantastic flavor.  A very simple dish (it only uses 7 ingredients, 5 of which I already had in my pantry), and at $8 for dinner for two , it is certainly worth a try.

Thanks for reading!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chasing Windmills (Star Anise-Ginger Chicken)

Earlier this year we took our semi-regular trip to Taiwan to visit my wife's extended family.  I always look forward to this trip, not for the sights and shopping but for the food, naturally.  Over the years, I have become accustomed to the flavor that can be found here.  Overall it is Chinese food that is simple, slightly spicy, and always packed with flavor.  However on this last trip, I was blind-sided by what I can only attest to being the best chicken dish I have ever had.

Best chicken dish ever

Known to us non-Chinese speaking people as 3 Cup Chicken, it's essentially 3 cups of chicken, 3 cups or garlic, 3 cups of ginger cooked in a sort of soy-flavored stew and served over rice.  What made this dish at this specific restaurant particularly amazing is that they finish the dish in a stone bowl bake it so that most of the liquid has been reduced and you are left with a sticky glaze and lots of chicken, garlic, and ginger (all equally edible due to the long cooking time). 

Having declared it the best chicken dish I have ever had, I have been chasing this flavor since I returned to Hawaii and have been failing miserably in my efforts to recreate this dish.

The other day, I ran across this recipe for Star Anise-Ginger Chicken which by it's description sounded eerily like that dish I had in Taiwan.  Since seeing this over the weekend I took the opportunity to make it tonight for dinner.

My Western version

Overall, the taste was pretty close which I think was due to the addition of honey, which all 3-Cup Chicken recipes I've found online do not utilize.  As for the reduction, while this recipe uses the liquid reduction as a sauce, I decided to toss it with my chicken and use it as a glaze, to see if I could replicate that elusive flavor.

Having come this close, I will probably stick with this recipe and continue to tweak it.  I do think, however, that until I buy some stone bowl to bake in the oven, I will probably still be more far then near.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Restaurant Review (Kiss My Grits)

Sometimes in life things can get pretty hectic.  So it's been for me, which explains my lack of any post or any interesting cooking for that matter.  Still, I did want to put up this quick review on a new Southern restaurant that just opened up in Honolulu.

Kiss My Grits is a small private eatery that is located in the back alleys of Puck's Alley.  Owned and operated by a brother and sister from North Carolina, this is the place for good, heart-warming, comfort food even if you have never eaten this type of cuisine.  With a fairly varied menu, from grits, to fried chicken, to fried green tomatoes, this has quickly risen to the top 3 on my lists of favorite places to have lunch.

I was fortunate enough to pay my first visit with my wife and a bunch of friends.  The benefit of this is that we were able to order a variety of items and share "family style".  For those who want to EAT, get the fried chicken plate and rinse it down with their often sold-out Bourbon Bread Pudding.  For those who are on a budget, I would strongly recommend the chicken tenderloin biscuit sandwich.  At $3.95 this is a fantastic bargain and comes with a side of country gravy that will ensure a full stomach and a smile on your face.

Biscuits and Gravy 

Oyster Po' Boy

Brunswick Stew w/Cheesy Grits

Shrimp and Grits

Fried Green Tomatoes

Bourbon Bread Pudding

Banana Pudding

Thanks for reading!